Posted by: morrowsl | October 17, 2020

Attitude Adjust Me

After a couple of particularly rough days, where I lost myself in the words and actions of those involved with the confirmation hearing for the new Supreme Court Justice, I knew I needed to get outdoors and get to work. Depression for me isn’t the stranglehold stuff it is for others, but it can still sideline me for more hours than I care to give it. Not to mention, there are so many things to do and so little time, and good weather, in which to do them.

And, as per my usual, I decided to do the one job that called for calm weather on the windiest day of the week. With cooler nights coming, I needed to wrap tarps around the chicken run. Normally, I staple the tarps to the wood. This time, I used screw eyes and bungees, an idea I got from Lisa Steele over at Fresh Eggs Daily.
I bought the bungees and tarps last year, but didn’t get them in time and had to resort to the staple method. I did end up using them on the fence as a windbreak for my brooder coop while The Crazy Eight lived there.

In the end, I only had to reset a couple of screw eyes. And Coop Daddy did have to provide assistance in a particularly tricky area. But, it’s done.

I am thinking ahead to next summer and coming up with a way to custom fit the tarps so that they cover the hardware cloth walls without ending up in the middle. I don’t care for the gaps created by shorter tarps over longer walls. I could just buy smaller tarps, but I already have these.

When I was done, I had some compost to dump, so I made my way up the hill. The area where we set up our compost, garden, and greenhouse is one of my favorite spots. From that point, I can see all of the elements that make up our property at the front. The line of trees that protect us from Looky Lou’s driving down the road. The two “bowls” on either side of the lane. My “meadow” that is mostly grass right now, but still lovely in late afternoon.

We are an island surrounded by trees. Post Oaks, Bur Oaks, Water Oaks, Red and White Oaks, all natives. There are massive evergreens. Dotted throughout are tall Red Buds and shapely Wild Plums. Our first fall here, when it dawned on me that the trees were actually beginning to change color, I spent a lot of time up on this hill, just looking out and soaking it in.

Our trees haven’t started their transformation just yet. But it is coming. However, the juniper berries are set and they provide a beautiful contrast.

Another of the gifts Mother Nature provides here are bluebonnets. The first spring, there were only a few clumps and those were constantly being driven over by the big trucks that delivered our loads of dirt for the new barn and the metal to build it. Every delivery driver that came all the way down the lane before realizing there was no place to exit, used the hill for turning around. Trailers sat atop the hill while the greenhouse was constructed. And we tore up the rest building the fence for the garden.
But bluebonnets are resilient in their natural habitat and we have finally stopped disrupting them. I found new babies dotting the landscape.

The garden hasn’t yet been the success I foresaw, but it has been fun to try. We’ve gone from thinking we’d tractor-till the ground for a few years to amend the hardpacked clay to realizing tilling was draining the soil of nutrients. But no-till led to a massive growth of nut grass no amount of hand-pulling could successfully master. I am convinced the nut grass came with the soil we trucked in since it can’t be found anywhere else on this property. And, since I’ve composted what I’ve pulled, the compost will need to be sifted if I use it anywhere that nut grass is unwanted. Which is everywhere I could think to put compost, including the garden!
Even so, there are still some delightful discoveries in the garden. The tiny tomato vine I plopped into the end of a row has literally taken over the space, spilling into the walkways on both sides, engulfing its basil neighbor and suddenly producing more fruit than it did throughout the hot summer.

The okra that got pulled up because ants invaded and refused all attempts of eradication, has volunteered and is making pods. There’s a lone potato at the end of the spud row. The yellow squash and round zucchini are producing and may actually make fruit before it’s too cold. And, sitting squarely between two of those I discovered a volunteer onion. Along with a surplus of grasshoppers, who wiped out the rest of my tender seedlings and everything in the new herb bed except the garlic and chives. I have plans for the grasshoppers, and the ants, when we set up for spring gardening.

We will spend the winter working on raised beds for the garden. I hate abandoning the in-ground garden, but I have given up trying to tame the nut grass and my back is done with all the bending over. We’ll still use the cattle panels for trellises and arbors. Depending on how many raised beds we can fit in the space, we may add more panels over time.

The huge Rosemary at the end of the original herb bed is blooming. Not a lot of blooms, but pretty even so. I’ve never seen it bloom before this.

Rosemary in bloom

Before I hit my slump, I had been working on digging out the irises I planted in such a hurry last fall, as well as the ones up by the pool deck that kept getting buried by ant mounds. I had managed to dig most of the pool deck out, but had to treat a huge mound, so had stopped there and moved to the garden fence. It took most of a day to dig out the iris and amaryllis bulbs. Now I need to go back in with cardboard to smother the grass and then add my topsoil and mulch, then replant the irises and bulbs. I picked out a stone border to lay down in hopes of keeping the grass out of the bed. At some point, I’ll add more perennials to this border. I have a surplus of Mexican Petunias to transplant and some coneflower starts ready to plant.

There’s still the area behind the greenhouse to dig and replant.

Yesterday, I finished the pool deck border and replanted with two Knock-Out roses I found on clearance. They are Cherry Red and the butterflies had already discoverd the one blossom. I replanted the irises in mixed groups in hopes of getting a longer bloom period. I had iris from a forty-year-old bed at our old house, the ones dug up from Director Neighbor Girl and Captain Neighbor Boy’s beds last year, and an assortment already planted here when we moved in or purchased the following spring. Hopefully, the mix of colors will add to this bed. I also scattered Larkspur seeds for assorted pink, blue, and white blooms.

While time spent admiring what is already planted and growing is good for my soul, it is a reminder of things yet to accomplish and work to be done.

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